Choralosophy

Christopher M Munce

This page is dedicated to driving a conversation for choral musicians with the PHILOSOPHY of Choral Music at the heart of every post and podcast episode. Topics will be wide ranging from the technical aspects of our jobs and careers all the way to the artistic interpretations and values that make us who we are as artists. Join me in this conversation in which I hope we can learn from each other.

All Episodes

One of the most COMMON questions to pop up, almost weekly, on choir director Facebook groups is “what do I do to help these (usually boys, not always) match pitch?!” It is usually a panic induced, “I’ve tried everything” kind of post. This short episode brings in the expert, Donald Brinegar, choral director, professor and … Continue reading "Episode 87: Demystifying Pitch Matching Struggles with Don Brinegar"

Dec 8

22 min 54 sec

An Unconventional Approach to the Urban Choral Classroom I believe one of the biggest goals is getting the students interested in singing choral music before we start trying to operate out of formality. How do we get students interested in something they are not familiar with? Odell Zeigler IV Recently, I came across a shining … Continue reading "Episode 86: All Students DESERVE Music Literacy with Odell Zeigler IV"

Dec 1

1 hr 8 min

I could NOT do this show without you. Please take 6 minutes and let me thank the various people that make this show possible. Most of all YOU! Past Thanksgiving Episodes! (Click photos)

Nov 24

6 min 25 sec

Next stop, Oxford University and St. Edmund Hall. Betsy and I are joined by composer, conductor, teacher James Whitbourn. Or as he describes himself, a musician. We discussed the Oxford system of colleges and the wide range of choral opportunities it provides. I was fascinated by this because I had never taken the time to … Continue reading "Episode 85: “Exploring the Choirs of Europe” with James Whitbourn of St. Edmund Hall"

Nov 18

43 min 37 sec

The Second Installment Betsy Cook Weber’s Sabbatical Series! In this stop, Betsy visits Stockholm, Sweden to see Gary Graden and the St. Jacobs Kammerkör. Betsy, Gary and I discuss how an American born director ended up learning from Eric Ericsson and never leaving. We also dive into the philosophies, practices and approaches that lead to … Continue reading "Episode 84: Exploring the Choirs of Europe with Gary Graden of St. Jacobs Kammerkör"

Nov 10

54 min 19 sec

The First Installment of the a new series following Betsy Cook Weber on her Sabbatical I am honored to present to you a new series of podcasts and videos with Dr. Betsy Cook Weber. Dr. Weber is on Sabbatical this semester, and she reached out to me to partner in documenting her travels across Europe. … Continue reading "Episode 83: “Exploring the Choirs of Europe” Rupert Gough of Royal Holloway"

Nov 3

46 min 55 sec

Author of the Newsweek article “Why Calling Merit Racist Erases People of Color.” One of the raging debates today in education centers around the ways in which we can expand access to fruits of high quality education to more students. And that is a wonderful debate to have, and an important one. However, a troubling … Continue reading "Episode 82: Are Merit-BasedStandards Racist? With Angel Eduardo"

Oct 28

1 hr 6 min

One of the foundational principles of this show is that we, as humans AND as colleagues don’t have to agree about everything. In fact I will take it a step further: we NEED disagreement and dialogue in order to learn and grow. This episode is based on that principle. I recently came across Kirsten Oberoi … Continue reading "Episode 81: Can Auditions be Inclusive? With Kirsten Oberoi"

Oct 20

1 hr 7 min

At some point, we have to come back to choir, (or quit) and the Covid risk will not be zero. So, it is now unavoidable that we will have to become comfortable engaging with humans in close proximity because they NEED us. Choir is essential. Nicola Dedmon recently wrote a great article in the ACDA … Continue reading "Episode 80: Finding Connection Again with Nicola Dedmon"

Oct 13

1 hr 8 min

Brought to you by members of my Patreon, who have collaborated with me to create this episode. This is the first time I have done a MULTI topic show. I think you will enjoy it! Topics in this short episode include: How are you navigating the return to “normal” activities? Do you get flack for … Continue reading "Ask Me Literally ANYTHING! Vol. 1"

Oct 6

31 min 8 sec

In this episode, I read some recent reviews from the Apple Podcasts App, as well as some questions that came in through the website. Then, I have clipped out a portion of episode one of Reconstructing the Dialogue. A new podcast on which I am but one voice of many. Journalist Mónica Guzman, Professor Erec … Continue reading "Chris Reads from the Audience Mailbag and Joins the Cast of a NEW Podcast"

Sep 30

38 min 38 sec

We can expect “Excellence” and be inclusive of all ability levels at the same time! That’s it. That’s the Blog. Just kidding. There’s more. On the Choralosophy Podcast over the last several years, I have presented my thoughts on choral music curriculum in several episodes. From grading policies, to literacy instruction, as well a the … Continue reading "Car Thoughts: Elite without elitism, merit without meritocracy"

Sep 24

26 min 40 sec

Panel discussion featuring three insightful Professors In this week’s special panel conversation, I am finally responding to what has been a frequent listener suggestion for a podcast topic. A “no BS” discussion on the Choral Grad School decision that weighs so heavily on many of us, sometimes more than once in our careers. So, I … Continue reading "Episode 79: Is Grad School Right For Me?! André Thomas, Jennaya Robison and Giselle Wyers"

Sep 16

1 hr 19 min

This special episode is something a bit different, in that it is a recap of a shared experience. All the way back on Episode 17, Marques Garrett challenged me to intentionally find an opportunity to be an “only” in the room. I had reflected in that conversation that, as a white guy, I don’t think … Continue reading "Episode 78: The Only White Guy in the Room with Maria and Chris"

Sep 8

34 min 48 sec

Removing Barriers To Honest and Emotional Singing J.D. Frizzell is a standout educator and clinician. In this episode, we discuss Dr. Frizzell’s successful approach to getting his singers to come out of their shells! We all want our ensembles to sing with passion, honesty, and expression, but how do we achieve this in an objective, … Continue reading "Episode 77: Singing Without Fear with Dr. J.D. Frizzell"

Sep 2

57 min 25 sec

Part of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast The next installment of the Oxford Series is THE John Rutter. We have all grown up knowing the name and legacy that John represents. In this conversation, my goal was to give you a peak behind the curtain revealing the human side of the legend. We … Continue reading "Episode 76: Finding a Niche with John Rutter"

Aug 25

1 hr 10 min

CDC published epidemiologist returns to the show to discuss the science of schools in the shifting sands of Delta. Since appearing on the show in November on Episode 49, Dr. Høeg has been very busy both researching and making public commentary about the issues surrounding Covid, kids and schools. Since her first Choralosophy appearance, she … Continue reading "Episode 75: The Delta Variables with Dr. Tracy Hoeg (part 2)"

Aug 18

41 min 13 sec

CDC published epidemiologist returns to the show to discuss the science of schools in the shifting sands of Delta. Since appearing on the show in November on Episode 49, Dr. Høeg has been very busy both researching and making public commentary about the issues surrounding Covid, kids and schools. Since her first Choralosophy appearance, she … Continue reading "Episode 75: The Delta Variables with Dr. Tracy Hoeg (Part 1)"

Aug 18

40 min

A Back to School Special From Choralosophy Podcast Listen in, or watch on YouTube for the complete presentation focusing on the practices, philosophies and RESULTS made possible by Sight Reading Factory. I discuss the “first day of school” reading activity, the way I rip off the bandaid by removing all keyboard assistance for note reading, … Continue reading "Mastering Literacy Instruction- Live at Iowa ACDA"

Aug 11

51 min 52 sec

A Back to School Special from the Choralosophy Podcast This time, we have William Bennett of Cane Bay High School in the hot seat to reflect on Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” research and practice as well as its implication in the choral rehearsal setting. Warning: sportsball metaphors are used gratuitously. In this short discussion, we will … Continue reading "Bite Sized Choral Tips: “Mindset” in Rehearsal with William Bennett"

Aug 8

33 min 56 sec

A Back to School Special from Choralosophy Podcast Zach Singer weighed in on the main page of Choralosophy.com with an idea to share with us. He calls it being a “cultural custodian.” As we get back to being busy, I thought you might enjoy a few bite sized episodes with some practical, usable ideas. Tune … Continue reading "Bite Size Back to School Thoughts- “Cultural Custodians” with Zach Singer"

Aug 3

24 min 30 sec

Expertise Cannot Be Earned as a student. We must test our academic ideas in the real world. I recently had a lot of time to think and reflect while driving home from the convention circuit, so I went LIVE in the Choralsophers FB group to discuss some reactions to audience feedback from the Success Rubrics … Continue reading "Car Thoughts Live: What is Expertise in Choral Music?"

Jul 30

20 min 30 sec

Who is in the Choral Cool Kids Club? Our current rubric is based almost entirely on two factors. What degree do you have? And what level of choir do you direct? That’s not enough. One of the hot items of choral discussion recently has been “Choral Elitism.” I have done episodes on the show about … Continue reading "Reimagining the Rubric For “Success” In Choral Careers"

Jul 25

19 min 2 sec

For the Midsummer installment of the show, I am encouraging you to take a professional development break from your summer fun, not to “do work,” but to begin thinking ahead. To start hoping, dreaming, and scheming for your BEST academic year yet. In fact, I believe that in order to be a a”professional educator,” the … Continue reading "The Essential PD Library: Starting Your School Year With Momentum"

Jul 20

11 min 35 sec

Over the past year, I began to notice a breath of fresh air in the online choral discourse in the form of Reginal Wright. Like many of you, I have used Facebook to network with other choral directors that I don’t know in real life. This has benefits for me as a Podcast host, but … Continue reading "Episode 74: Is the Choral Ecosystem a Political Monolith? With Reginal Wright"

Jul 7

1 hr 8 min

Executive producer and host of the television program African Ascent, W.E.B Du Bois fellow at Harvard, Professor of Philosophy at Berklee College of Music, Author “I try to argue that they can become better musicians if they become philosophically trained. They will become sensitive to aesthetics in their lives, to the role that art plays … Continue reading "Episode 73: Love Supreme with Professor Teodros Kiros"

Jun 30

1 hr 8 min

Singers often have the mentality that if they go to the audition and don’t get the gig, they have failed. Choral directors often feel that if someone doesn’t hire them for the tenure track, or the honor choir gig, then they have sufficiently been told “no.” “I guess this isn’t for me after all.” The … Continue reading "Episode 72: Artists! It’s OK to be an Entrepreneur with Brian Witkowski"

Jun 23

45 min 31 sec

And other silly traps we fall in to due to the nature of our job and its subsequent ego pitfalls. Tune in for this short reflection on the overbearing conductor stereotype. I think it’s possible that we don’t appreciate what constantly having our job evaluated in front of people does to our Psyche… Changing Your … Continue reading "Car Thoughts: The Conductor is ALWAYS Right?"

Jun 18

12 min 52 sec

Episode 71: It’s All in the Story with Cecilia McDowall Another Installment of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast Episode 71 Cecilia McDowall has long been one of my favorite Choral composers. If I were to boil down my reasons for this it would come to her masterful ability to transport both audience and performer through … Continue reading "Episode 71: It’s All in the Story, with Cecilia McDowall"

Jun 16

54 min 44 sec

In this episode, Dr. Ryan Board of Pepperdine University and I discuss the role we see for Choral Music education in filling the void of psychological and emotional development of young people and adults. The epidemic of the loss of resiliency in young people is well documented. Dr. Board walks us through the work of … Continue reading "Episode 70: Legitimate Love and Suffering in the Music Classroom with Dr. Ryan Board"

Jun 9

1 hr 11 min

Want your singers to make less mistakes while sight reading? In this episode I outline some approaches, philosophies and even a rubric. But first, one obvious tip, and one counterintuitive one: Obvious: SRF assignments, quizzes and most importantly daily class work, and test EACH kid individually at the level appropriate for their current aptitude. Not … Continue reading "Episode 69: Higher Standards-Lower Anxiety"

Jun 2

37 min 4 sec

I say it’s steering them. And I think that’s bad news. I believe that Social Media has a tremendous upside and potential for good. But only if it is reflective of the common humanity that we experience when we are in person. My concern is that this has been reversed. That, as we begin to … Continue reading "Car Thoughts: Is Social Media Steering or Reflecting Choir Conversations?"

May 27

10 min 22 sec

For the first time on Choralosophy, I have written a blog to accompany the podcast episode! This post is not specific to music or musicians. But, as with many topics, we are all trying to navigate a rapidly changing social landscape. I think, write and speak quite a bit about how the quality of conversation … Continue reading "A Rhetorical Analysis of Toxic Discourses with Dr. Erec Smith"

May 27

1 hr 8 min

I am very unlikely to to give much credence to a person who is critical of the music education practices of colleagues, if they have nothing better to point to. Criticizing is easy. Building something better is hard. Show me your program and how your ideas have shown results, then I am more likely to … Continue reading "Episode 67 Part 2: Growing Access in a Greenhouse with Vince Peterson"

May 16

49 min 53 sec

Then, be sure to tune in to Part 2 next week, as Vince discusses his brainstorm that is “Greenhouse Music” and why he thinks some of the problems with music education, and educator training need real solutions by rethinking the model, the access and the outcomes. Vince Peterson is a respected choral conductor, composer/arranger, and teacher … Continue reading "Episode 67 Part 1: How to Create your Musician’s Credo with Vince Peterson"

May 11

44 min 8 sec

Another Installment of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast I had the joy and privilege of chatting with Oxford Choral Composer, Sarah Quartel. We centered our conversation around the ideas of collaborative music making, and choral music specifically, and their ability to build community, increase well being, flourishing and growth. We ranged also to … Continue reading "Episode 66: “I Shine!” Music as Self Care with Sarah Quartel"

May 6

51 min 5 sec

Spoiler- Don’t Ask Them To Sing Louder One of the most common questions I get from choir teachers is “How do I get my kids to sing louder?! I beg and I plead, but they just don’t make any noise.” The first mistake you made was the begging and pleading. The second mistake was asking … Continue reading "Car Thoughts: How To Get Choirs to “Sing Louder”"

Apr 29

17 min 46 sec

Shared goals are more important than any other factors when building community. Not shared cultures, shared backgrounds, or shared talents. We just need to want the same things. Choirs are typically natural breeding grounds of this type of shared interest. In this episode I compare notes with writer, podcaster and Tango instructor Dr. Iona Italia … Continue reading "Episode 65: The Art of Community with Dr. Iona Italia"

Apr 27

1 hr 18 min

Show Notes Here (This episode had some weird tech things with my website.)

Apr 22

1 hr 16 min

UNLOCKED This episode is an UNLOCKED Patreon only episode that I released in October at the Choralosophy Podcast private feed. I am releasing it here now in an effort to encourage some deep thinking about the Choral Profession and our recent flourish of colleague cancellation. This particular episode looks back at the essay written by … Continue reading "How NOT to Write Your Cancellation Essay"

Apr 16

30 min 13 sec

An installment of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast In choral music, in a different way than in other types of music making, WE ARE the instrument. This creates a unique vulnerability within choral music. If my saxophone is flat, I can fix the ligature, and EXTERNALIZE the problem. With singers, we must still … Continue reading "Episode 63: “We Face People.” The Courage of the Choir with Bob Chilcott"

Apr 8

1 hr 9 min

Many people use the term “elitist” to describe aspects of choral music. The problem, as I see it is that this term means different things to different people. So in this short verbal essay, I reflect on the need to be specific when we criticize. I also discuss some places that I see Elitism in … Continue reading "Thoughts on What ‘Elitism” Means in Choral Music"

Apr 2

19 min 20 sec

Featuring Laura Ritter and her Walters State Chamber Choir In this episode, I feature Laura Ritter and her Walters State Chamber Choir. I asked students to reflect on why they NEED choir, what it has meant to them to return to singing in our current troubled time, what has created a sense of safety and … Continue reading "Episode 62: Filling in the Gaps with Choir"

Mar 25

1 hr 5 min

Part of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast Join us in this thought provoking and jovial conversation in which Will and I discuss a comparison of the US and UK music education paradigms, his approach to the creative process, and the possible pitfalls of training “sight reading machines.” While this can result in singers … Continue reading "Episode 61: Give Me Some Humanity! With Will Todd"

Mar 17

1 hr 9 min

Isaac Cates is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. A classically trained pianist, who is also a gospel music specialist, but also a singer-song writer… Oh! and also a choir clinician. Turns out he is also a fantastic podcast guest! Join Isaac and I in studio for this multifaceted conversation. We discussed Isaac’s approach to … Continue reading "Episode 60: Labels Won’t Stick to Isaac Cates"

Mar 10

1 hr 37 min

Conference line up and itinerary being finalized very soon!

Mar 9

17 min 23 sec

This special episode comes at Podcasting from a bit of a different angle. Enjoy a spot as a fly on the wall while two couples, both comprised of two choral musicians, sit down to discuss the benefits and possible pitfalls of being married to someone who shares your professional sphere. My wife Beth and I … Continue reading "Episode 59: Married to the Choir with The Robison’s and the The Munces"

Mar 3

1 hr 16 min

Special Update! From myself, along with Robin and Jon at MyMusicFolders Colorado STATE Testing: We were given the opportunity in early July to send prototypes to Colorado State aerosol lab for testing, and those results were published, along with several others, as part of their interactive mask effectiveness charts, and people continue to reference those … Continue reading "Why You May Have Misunderstood Singers Masks and the Aerosol Study"

Feb 28

12 min 32 sec

With Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Matthew Workman and Brian Gaukel Have you heard about this yet?! What an exciting project this is. My three guests for this episode have teamed up to create a monumental expression of what choral singing means to us here in the United States. “CHORAL SINGING IN AMERICA: NURTURING THE AMERICAN SOUL.” … Continue reading "Episode 58: Telling the Story of American Choral Singing"

Feb 25

56 min 49 sec

The Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast! Reena Esmail is currently the composer in residence for the LA Master Chorale and the composer of TaReKiTa published by Oxford University Press. Reena works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, to bring communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces and holds degrees … Continue reading "Episode 57: Working Between Worlds with Reena Esmail"

Feb 16

1 hr 15 min